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Braided Wreath Bread Recipe

Braided Wreath Bread Recipe

I make this attractive bread to celebrate Santa Lucia Day on December 13. This Swedish custom is the symbolic start of Christmas in Scandinavia, a festival of lights that brightens the short, dark days of winter. I position seven birthday candle holders in my braided loaf before adding candles to prevent wax from melting on top of the bread.
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 30 min. + rising Bake: 30 min. + cooling YIELD:12 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water (110° to 115°)
  • 1/3 cup warm 2% milk (110° to 115°)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, cubed
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange peel
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange extract
  • 2-1/2 to 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • GLAZE:
  • 1 egg

Directions

  • 1. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add the milk, sugar, butter, 1 egg, orange peel, salt, extract and 1 cup flour; beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.
  • 2. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
  • 3. Punch dough down; divide into thirds. Roll each portion into a 20-in. rope. Braid the ropes; shape into a wreath and pinch ends to seal. Place on a greased baking sheet. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 45 minutes.
  • 4. For glaze, beat egg; lightly brush over dough. Bake at 350° for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack to cool. Yield: 12 servings.

Nutritional Facts

1 serving (1 slice) equals 164 calories, 5 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 47 mg cholesterol, 152 mg sodium, 25 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 4 g protein.